Rumours had been circling for weeks now that Hedi Slimane, the mastermind behind Saint Laurent’s unprecedented upheaval over the last couple of years, was stepping down from his role as creative director of the Parisian fashion house, and last week the brand issued a statement confirming his departure.
It was not exactly a shock, his pre-fall collection, shown in LA, definitely felt like a swan song, and his last collection in February was essentially a combination of his greatest hits for the house. His tenure at Saint Laurent was marked with controversy from the moment he announced he was dropping Yves from the brands internationally recognised name. Many thought it was incredibly disrespectful, others a stroke of genius. Love him or hate him, there is no denying his time at the helm of Saint Laurent has done wonders not only for the brand’s finances (which were certainly in need of serious assistance) but also for the brand’s image. Saint Laurent is undeniably cool again, the look he created (all skinny rock’n’ roll victim and 70’s party animal) spawned an entire aesthetic which other brands have clambered to replicate. Yes, the clothing was wildly overpriced for what it was, but what it was was very desirable.
So now his reign has ended, and Anthony Vaccarello has been named as his successor. The appointment of the 36 year old is hardly surprising, he shares Slimane’s love of the super skinny, and his designs also often focus on inventive cut and tailoring. Granted, Vaccarello’s designs tend to be more overtly sexy, but their design codes definitely share similarities. In order to dedicate himself fully to his new role, Vaccerello has stepped down from his position as creative director of Versus Versace (with Donatella’s full blessing we are reassured), and also put his own line on hold. Fans of Slimane’s vision for Saint Laurent need not panic, Vaccarello is hardly likely to scrap the incredibly profitable aesthetic his predecessor created, and is more likely to continue on in the same, albeit slightly more sexy, vein.
So what is next for Slimane? There are currently no major fashion houses in need of a creative director, but is all that about to change? Karl Lagerfeld is 82, and contrary to popular belief, not a robot, so is he about to hang up his design gloves? We know he is a fan of Slimane’s work (he famously lost weight in order to fit into Slimane’s suits) and Lagerfelds successor at Chanel would have to be someone Lagerfeld greatly admired. Slimane for Chanel? Tweet us your thoughts!